Thu, May 24 2007

Asking for money online: what works?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

A sense of immediacy is often needed to get someone to donate.  Are you answering the question for your donors, why give now?

An interesting M + R study based on the results of 180 fundraising appeals from nine different nonprofits delves into the efficacy of a few methods to lend a sense of immediacy to your appeals.  While noting the sample size is small, the study suggests some of these methods work better than others.

1. Multiple appeals that tied together in a cohesive campaign performed better than stand-alone, one-off appeals.  They have higher conversion and a much larger average gift size.
2. Offering a deadline results in bigger gifts than an open-ended appeal, though it didn’t increase conversion.
3. Matching gifts are motivational, increasing response rates and gift sizes.
4. Dollar goals may increase response rates, though there was not statistically significant data showing an impact in the study.

Based on my own experience, I’d say the study is right on.  At Six Degrees, we combined a deadline, matching gift and most-donations “contest” into one campaign where leading individual fundraisers for nonprofits had their gifts matched by Kevin Bacon.  We sent out several bulletins during the campaign.  So we combined all four elements above.  Clearly, as you can see by the levels of giving spiking at the matching grant competition deadline, this combined approach drove a lot of giving. 

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